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Police hope wallet found in field leads to missing Burlington woman

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

Halton Region police hope the discovery of a wallet in a field can help lead them to a 79-year-old Burlington woman who has been missing since last year.

Helen Robertson, who has Alzheimer’s and is known to go on long walks, was last seen at her residence on Millcroft Park Drive, near Dundas Street and Walkers Line, on July 5, 2016.

On Monday, Burlington city workers found a brown leather wallet believed to belong to Robertson inside a fenced-in field in a city park.

A wallet believed to belong to Helen Robertson – who has been missing since July 5, 2016 – was found in a field on April 24, 2017. HANDOUT/Halton Regional Police






















Police believe the wallet was left there between last Friday and Monday after being found at some other location.

Police are appealing for the person who found it to tell them where it was found so they can conduct a further ground search for the elderly woman.

Robertson is white, five-foot-two and 110 pounds with white collar-length hair. She was believed to be wearing a red, long sleeved collared shirt and two different shoes at the time of her disappearance.

Raptors take series lead with 118-93 victory over Bucks

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were delighted to yield the spotlight to Norman Powell for a night.

Powell scored a career playoff-high 25 points on an array of dunks and long bombs to lift the Raptors to a 118-93 blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks. Now the Raptors head back to Milwaukee for Thursday’s Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead, and within one win from the Eastern Conference semifinal.

In the moments after the victory, Lowry insisted Powell sit centre-table at the press-conference podium. He gleefully teased Powell, saying in a sing-song voice, “You’re going to the podium.”

On a night that Lowry was fighting a bad back, and DeRozan was more of a playmaker than scorer, the 23-year-old Powell was a “spark plug,” said coach Dwane Casey.

“He’s the X factor,” Casey said. “So many times you’re so concerned about DeMar and Kyle, rightfully so, that that next spark plug, that next guy, the next instigator is the guy. Is this series, he’s been the X factor.

“Next game it might be a different story but he’s done an excellent job of playing off those two and taking what the game’s giving him, whether it’s the three-point shot or attack to the basket.”

Powell led six Raptors in double figures. Serge Ibaka finished with 19 points, DeRozan added 18, and Lowry – whose back was so tight that when he wasn’t on the court, he was lying on his back in front of the bench – finished with 16 points and 10 assists.

Casey said you’d have to “take an arm and a leg off (Lowry) before you keep him from playing.”

“I’m all right,” Lowry said afterward. “This is the playoffs. The opportunity to play, enjoy my teammates, and a great game, be out there with my guys. There’s nothing like that. I’m going to take the bumps and bruises to be able to go on the floor and be with our guys. Especially with the way Norm played tonight, it made it way more worth it.”

DeMarre Carroll chipped in with 12 points, while Cory Joseph had 10. Toronto’s 28 assists were a franchise record for the post-season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 30 points and nine rebounds.

The victory was Toronto’s most decisive of these playoffs. Two nights after it worked so well in Game 4 in Milwaukee, Casey started Powell over Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors took the lead for good less than five minutes after tipoff, and then – humming on offence and solid on defence – they built a 19-point first-half lead and roared into the fourth quarter with a 90-73 advantage.

The Bucks would come no closer than 14 points in a fourth quarter that belonged to Toronto, and with 4:42 to play, Powell muscled around Antetokounmpo and over Thon Maker for an empathic dunk, the punctuation mark on a dominant night for the young Raptor, who was drafted 46th overall in 2015 – by the Bucks – then subsequently traded to Toronto for Greivis Vasquez.

When Casey emptied his bench in the final two minutes, the Air Canada Centre crowd broke into a chant of “Raps in six!”

Powell was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range, and credited the countless hours of practice. He came in early in the morning, stayed late at night, and pored over film of three-point specialists like Kyle Korver and Larry Bird.

“It’s just constant reps day in and day out, trying to tweak it here and there, and finding what’s most comfortable for me, and shooting with confidence,” Powell said. “I put up so many shots before the game and on the off days, it’s just shooting with confidence and trusting in the work.”

The Raptors shot a sizzling 58 per cent on the night, and 44 per cent from three-point range.

“We’re lacking the experience of what’s coming,” coach Jason Kidd said of his young Bucks team. “We can talk about it, but we have to go through that process, we have to walk through that door. For a lot of these guys, they’ve never seen this. This team has been to the Eastern Conference finals, they’ve been there. Their coach has seen this before.”

The athletic Powell made his presence known from the tipoff. Early in the first quarter, he stole the ball off Antetokounmpo, was wrapped up by Malcolm Brogdon but managed to get the shot off for a three-point play. His three-pointer capped a 17-0 run that gave the Raptors a 15-point lead. Toronto took a 31-20 advantage into the second quarter.

A jump shot from Patrick Patterson put Toronto up by 19 points midway through the second, but the Bucks – shooting 67 per cent in the quarter – clawed their way to within seven. The Raptors went into the halftime break with a 57-48 lead.

Powell drilled a three – and glared at the Bucks bench – four minutes into the third quarter to give the Raptors a 15-point lead.

The game got heated in the third when Greg Monroe took offence after he flew over Valanciunas’s hip. Monroe tried to get at Valanciunas at the other end. The scuffle, which saw the two slapped with technical fouls, had Valanciunas flexing his biceps and fired up the ACC crowd.

The Raptors and Bucks split the first two games in Toronto, then split their two games in Milwaukee.

A Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Toronto on Saturday.

Toronto failing to bring sexual assault suspects to court: former Crown

Cynthia Mulligan and Cici Fan | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

A CityNews exclusive investigation into sexual assault cases in Toronto over the last few years show that only about a third of police complaints make their way to the court system.

Between 2012 and 2015, Toronto Police received on average 1764 reports of sexual assault a year. Yet less than 38 per cent were seen by a Crown.

Former Crown Attorney David Butt says that’s not good enough.

“There is just simply too high a failure rate, “ Butt told CityNews. “We also know from the statistics that the false allegation rate is somewhere in the neighbourhood between five and 10 per cent. But that’s way more than five or 10 per cent of cases that are falling off before they get to a charge.”


CityNews also found that out of all the sexual assault cases that made it to the courts across the province between 2012 and 2015, on average 33 per cent ended in guilty verdicts or guilty pleas.

Attorney General hopes victims are treated equally  

On Monday, a CityNews exclusive investigation revealed that records detailing every sexual assault case in Ontario that made it to court over the past five years paint a startling picture of discrepancies.

For example, in Toronto more sex assault cases are dropped by the Crown either before or during a trial than any other large jurisdiction in the province. Almost half (48 per cent) have been withdrawn or stayed since 2012. The provincial average is 39 per cent. Toronto also has one of the lowest trial rates for sex assault cases in the province at 25 per cent.

A third of suspects convicted

A chart shows the number of police complaints and court cases over four years in Ontario. Source: Minister of the Attorney General

“Of course we take cases of sexual assault very seriously,” Attorney General of Ontario Yasir Naqvi told CityNews Monday. “We do not make any discrimination or differentiation between geography.”

“First, each case is different. I don’t think one can make an analysis by looking at numbers like this because the circumstances around each case are very different.”

His answer to whether someone would receive the same amount of justice whether they’re sexually assaulted in Toronto versus Ottawa or Timmins was, “That is absolutely my hope.”

Trump takes first swing in lumber war: tariff of 20 per cent on Canadian lumber

Alexander Panetta and Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

The United States has fired the opening shot in the latest softwood-lumber war against Canada, with the Trump administration announcing its first batch of duties on imported wood in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent.

The move was expected: the deep-rooted dispute over lumber pricing between the two countries has led to once-a-decade trade skirmishes over the issue, resulting in American duties, then the inevitable court battles, and ultimately negotiated settlements.

What wasn’t expected Monday was the enthusiasm with which the new American administration flung itself into the lumber hostilities, touting its incoming countervailing duties as an example of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough, America-first trade posture.

Trump underscored the impending move by announcing it to a gathering of conservative media on the eve of the expected announcement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also highlighted it in an interview.

Vaughan youth soccer players caught on video swarming teammate

Cristina Howorun | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

It’s a shocking video. A group of boys, about 14 years old, roam the halls of a hotel. Some of them are wearing Vaughan Soccer club attire.

“This is not a game,” one boy warns the camera. Another is making a pounding noise with his hands. They knock on the door – a boy opens his hotel room door and the onslaught begins.

The group charges toward him, throwing him onto the bed and pounding on his legs and torso. He gets the upper hand at one point and pins the primary attacker, but quickly gives up when the prime attacker warns: “Don’t touch me, don’t try to touch me boy,” in an eerily threatening voice.

The victim is pinned, face first, and the attacker repeats his warnings while inducing more harm with his hands.

The group leaves and the victim is seen moaning in pain in the fetal position on the bed. In the hallway, the ring leader boasts “I got that n**** fast.” The crowd is laughing.

But Pat DiRauso of the Vaughan Soccer club is not.

“It’s disturbing. The video speaks volumes,” he says.

DiRauso adds that in Vaughan Soccer club’s 35-year history they “never experienced anything like this.”

At the time the video was recorded, two of the club’s elite squads – the under-15 and under-13 teams from the Ontario Player Development League – were on a two-week tournament in Italy. They returned over the weekend and the video is believed to have been shot over the past week.

DiRauso only saw the video this past weekend.

“We’ve suspended the entire (team) as of yesterday afternoon,” he explains of the leadership and athletic program that costs about $3600 a year. “Tonight we are meeting with parents to determine what next steps we will take.”

The club is conducting its own internal investigation, but DiRauso believes it will have to go up the disciplinary chain to the York region Soccer Association, or even Ontario Soccer, which governs amateur soccer province-wide. Monday night’s practice is cancelled.

The activities seen in the video are clear violations of the club and Ontario Soccer’s code of conduct and some of those involved could be banned from competitive play for several years.

The under-15 team, where most of those appearing on the video are believed to play, doesn’t have a game scheduled until early May.

DiRauso isn’t sure if that game will proceed or how many players will be on the field. “Maybe not every player… sometimes it’s not even the player involved, it’s the players standing around and encouraging the act.”

He says about 30 players from the two teams were on the trip, with about 20 parental supervisors and four coaches chaperoning.

It’s believed the swarming happened early one evening, before lights out.

DiRauso admits that a lot is at stake. Ontario Soccer could pull their licence to run an Opdl team which is supposed to focus on athletics and leadership qualities.

But he says the players come first. “No program is more important than our players. ”

Are universities doing enough to support mental health?

Aaron Hutchins | posted Monday, Apr 24th, 2017

University isn’t meant to be easy, but it isn’t supposed to be this hard: since November 2016, the University of Guelph has lost four students to suicide.

After the fourth death, in mid-January, the school sent out another statement reminding staff and students about the counselling services available to them. For recent grad Connie Ly, it wasn’t enough. “I really just questioned how useful the services were, given that they were so overwhelmed already,” she says. Ly launched a petition on Change.org, since signed by 2,500 people, demanding to know how the university is spending government money allocated for mental health services, how those services have changed over the past five years, and specifically how it has improved the student-to-counsellor ratio. “The point wasn’t to point fingers at the school, but I felt nothing would happen if there wasn’t push from students,” Ly says.

As the taboo around talking about mental health crumbles, students are demanding more resources on campus, and many post-secondary education institutions are struggling to keep up. When Maclean’s surveyed more than 17,000 students at almost every campus across the country last year, 14 per cent said they were in poor mental health, 10 per cent rated their school’s mental health services as either poor or horrible, and 31 per cent said their mental health was affecting their ability to succeed. Meanwhile, when asked what kept them up at night, several members of the Maclean’s presidents advisory board said at a June 2016 meeting that the demand for mental health services was weighing on their minds.

“The demand is increasing—and we take those demands seriously—but we’re not funded as a mental health services provider,” explains Christopher Manfredi, vice-principal (academic) of McGill University. “We’re funded as an educational institution. Trying to find the resources within our budget is a big challenge for us.” The other problem is figuring out when to reach out and when to let go. “What’s the balance between support and spoon-feeding?” asks Ollivier Dyens, McGill’s deputy provost of student life and learning. “This is a very delicate balance, and I haven’t found it yet.”

Among other things, McGill is trying out an initiative where if, say, a student is often distracted in class or frequently absent, a professor can send an “expression of concern” to the dean of students, who is tasked with following up and offering help if it is needed.

The University of Calgary, meanwhile, tapped anti-stigma expert Andrew Szeto to head its Campus Mental Health Strategy, which tries to identify mental health problems early and, by partnering with resources already available in Calgary, make sure help is available 24-7.

“What if students need services at 1 a.m.?” asks Szeto. “They can call in to the same line for the campus wellness centre and they have options to be directed toward services at the Distress Centre (a 24-hour support line) or Wood’s Homes (a non-profit children’s mental health centre).”

But campuses in smaller cities and towns simply don’t have the same community services to draw upon. At Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., (pop: 5,500) most of the few psychologists associated with the school’s wellness centre are based 50 km away in Moncton, N.B., according to Shaelyn Sampson, the Jack.org chapter co-lead at the school. And it’s a visit they don’t make every day. “I know one [psychologist] comes in Wednesday afternoons from about 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.,” says Sampson, who gets an hour every month or two. Allot one hour per appointment, and exactly four students get seen each week by that counsellor.

Sampson runs educational events each semester with Jack.org, a youth advocacy group with chapters across Canada, to promote positive mental health and break down the stigma that stops people from even talking about their own mental health.

When Sampson’s anxiety and depression reached the breaking point two years ago and she called the centre, she waited a month to get in. This semester? “We’re seeing wait times of six weeks and up to three months,” she says. “When a student is in a rough spot and having severe mental health issues, you don’t necessarily have three months.”

Some don’t even call, thinking someone else might need help more, Sampson adds. “You shouldn’t have to reach that breaking point to feel that your reaching out is valid.”

Feeling Overwhelmed
The top 15 universities where students reported feeling overwhelmed on a daily or weekly basis. In addition, the top 15 areas of study across all of the surveyed universities where students said they felt overwhelmed at a minimum of once every week and sometimes on a daily basis.


Overwhelmed (by University) %
Mount Royal University 59.0
Victoria University 59.0
University of Winnipeg 58.9
McGill University 58.1
Ryerson University 56.7
Wilfred Laurier University 56.3
Memorial University of Newfoundland 55.5
Trent University 55.2
University of Ontario Institute of Technology 53.8
Mount Saint Vincent 53.5
York University 53.3
Queen’s University 52.9
Concordia University 51.8
University of Manitoba 51.1
St. Thomas University 51.0


Overwhelmed (by program area) %
Women and gender studies 67.9
Archaeology 66.7
Design 65.8
English 61.7
Drama 61.3
Architecture 61.0
Sociology 58.7
Art 58.7
Anthropology 57.3
Linguistics 56.4
Neuroscience 56.2
Philosophy 55.2
Psychology 55.1
Cognitive science 55.1
Law 54.9

Here’s why it’s only going to get harder to put down your phone

Diana Duong | posted Monday, Apr 24th, 2017

When was the last time you checked your phone? Five minutes ago? Three? Less? How much time do you figure you spend looking at your phone each day? The answer might surprise you. Because even though it only takes a couple seconds to check an unread message or the outside temperature or the score of the baseball game, each of those checks add up. On average, we’re spending three hours a day on our phones, and picking them up about 100 times a day.

That’s what marketing and psychology professor Adam Alter discovered about himself when he downloaded Moment, an app that measures smartphone use. In his new book, Irresistible, he investigates the rise of our behavioural addiction to screens and how tech companies are continually tweaking their products, with every new update, to make it harder and harder for us to put them down. Here, Alter discusses what’s behind that nagging instinct to reach for our phones at all times.

What prompted you to start looking into how technology is keeping us hooked?

I noticed I was playing certain games over and over again, and I found it very hard to stop. I wondered if it was something about my personality so I started speaking to some other people and they said the same thing. I found interviews with people like Steve Jobs and other tech giants, who said things like, “I don’t allow my kids to use the tech devices at home that I’ve produced at work.” That inspired me to try to work out the extent to which the tech industry was aware of these issues.

Which games started all this?

I played 2048 over and over again for months, and before that I played Angry Birds forever. I also started playing this game called Flappy Bird.

The one made by a Vietnamese developer who deleted it soon after?

Exactly, his name is Dong Nguyen, and it’s so interesting what he did. He was doing so well; the ad revenue was overwhelming. But he had read so many reviews from people who said they couldn’t stop playing it, and it was affecting their lives adversely. He felt bad and deleted it completely. That doesn’t happen at all in the tech industry.

Adam Alter on smartphone addiction

Author of Irresistible, Adam Alter. Photo, John Fitzgerald.

What was the most surprising thing you found during your research?

The magnitude of some of these effects. One research paper found that 41 percent of us has had at least one behavioural addiction [an addiction that doesn’t involve eating, drinking, injecting or smoking] in the past 12 months. And the fact that, on average, we spend about three hours a day on phones.

That seems very high to me because we don’t have that much time in the day where we’re not working or eating or sleeping. This is time we could be spending exercising, having conversations, playing with our children, interacting with other people or animals, but we’re spending a lot of it interacting instead with a screen, which I think is very isolating, at least socially. Even if you are interacting with someone through a screen, the depth of that is much shallower than if you were interacting face-to-face.

You said that children are most likely to develop addictive behaviour with screens because they lack the self-control most adults have. Who else is vulnerable?

It’s really anybody. There are certainly some people who are more willing to take risks and who tend to develop addictions more readily than others. But there’s something very democratic about behavioural addictions, they affect such a large proportion of the population by some estimates, which suggests it’s not about individual factors, it’s really about the experiences themselves.

So it’s not entirely our fault then — these devices are designed to be addictive?

Exactly. These devices are designed to make it really easy for us to learn how to use them and become familiar with them. Once, when my son was four months old, he leaned over and swiped my phone screen and smiled at me. I found it so fascinating that this device was one of the first experiences where he could act in a purposeful way. The swiping gesture is just so fundamental, it’s so easy for everyone to master.

But it’s hard to imagine a future without screens. Where do we go from here? How do we break that cycle? I can’t imagine going back to phones without apps and Internet browsers.

I don’t think we should go backwards. I’m not suggesting we eschew our smartphones. I think that’s an extreme position. The reason we’re having these conversations in the first place is because these experiences are so positive. If phones and technology never gave us something positive, we wouldn’t develop these addictions in the first place.

What I would suggest instead is we find time in the day, maybe two or three hours, where we go tech-free. Spend time having face-to-face conversations, or spend time in nature. Go out and look at an ocean or a lake, spend time in a park or even forest. Basically, spend part of your day where, based on what you see alone, you shouldn’t be able to tell what year it is.

This is especially important as virtual reality tech becomes more mainstream and takes a real hold on our culture. That hasn’t happened yet, but experts, say within two to five years, it will take over.

What else do we need to keep ourselves in check? Are we looking at government regulation, or even ethicists at tech companies? Or are gadget curfews enough?

I don’t think it should all be on the consumer. That would be like if we went back in time, looked at the tobacco industry and said, “They should keep doing what they’re doing and we should all learn a bit more self-control.” That only treats the smaller part of the problem.

I know the idea of legislation is unpopular with consumers. But if this overuse of devices ends up becoming a burden on the health-care system, if it changes how generations interact and how our society functions at large, then I think there’s good reason to suggest maybe we do need regulation.

Given that tech companies are producing so many of these irresistible experiences, they should be encouraged with soft rules like a Hippocratic oath, much like doctors have. That you should “do no harm” with whatever tech you’re creating. The Hippocratic oath is never enforceable and it’s not a regulation, but it’s a nice guiding principle and I think it would encourage tech experts to answer a different set of questions that I think a lot of them aren’t even asking themselves right now.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ laps new films at box office

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 24th, 2017

“The Fate of the Furious” sped into first place at the box office again, leaving new thriller “Unforgettable” and historical drama “The Promise” in the dust.

Universal Pictures’ eighth installment in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise earned $38.7 million over the weekend, down 61 per cent from its debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The new competition didn’t stand a chance against the high-octane film, which had the biggest worldwide opening of all time last weekend. It’s expected to cross $1 billion globally this week.

Holdovers dominated the charts on this quiet weekend in theatres. “The Boss Baby” took second place with $12.8 million, and “Beauty and the Beast” landed in third with $10 million.

Disney’s animal documentary “Born in China” opened in fourth place, with $5.1 million from 1,508 locations. The two other new movies fared worse.

Warner Bros. thriller “Unforgettable,” starring Katherine Heigl as a jealous ex-wife and Rosario Dawson as the new fiancee, opened at No. 7 with just $4.8 million. Critics were tough on the film, and audiences gave it a deathly C CinemaScore rating.

The directorial debut of longtime producer Denise Di Novi cost only $12 million to make, but the meagre result still disappointed.

“Unfortunately, the movie just missed the intended audience,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ president of domestic distribution. “We had higher expectations, and we’re disappointed we didn’t achieve them.”

There is a silver lining for the studio. The buddy comedy “Going in Style,” starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, is chugging along after three weeks in theatres, taking fifth place with $5 million.

Meanwhile, the historical epic “The Promise,” starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, bombed with a mere $4.1 million from 2,251 theatres.

The movie delves into the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that many countries and most historians call genocide. Turkey still denies genocide, saying the deaths stemmed from civil unrest and war.

It’s not a surprise the film, which was estimated to cost around $100 million to make, failed to gain traction, comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

“It didn’t really jump out as anything that would be a surprising box-office hit,” Dergarabedian said. “But it wasn’t really about the box office.”

Made outside the studio system and distributed by Open Road Films, the point of “The Promise” was to raise awareness around a global event that many know nothing about, he said.

Celebrities from Kim Kardashian West to Cher promoted the film on social media. Its makers said they will donate all proceeds to nonprofits and intend to use the PG-13-rated film as an education tool in schools.

“It was a tough weekend in general for the newcomers,” Dergarabedian said, noting that many moviegoers are likely saving up for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which hits theatres May 5.

“It’s a quiet period,” he added. “This is the interlude between the spring movie season and what promises to be the biggest summer movie season ever.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.“The Fate of the Furious,” $38.7 million.
2.“The Boss Baby,” $12.8 million.
3.“Beauty and the Beast,” $10 million.
4.“Born in China,” $5.1 million.
5.“Going in Style,” $5 million.
6.“Smurfs: The Lost Village,” $4.9 million.
7.“Unforgettable,” $4.8 million.
8.“Gifted,” $4.5 million.
9.“The Promise,” $4.1 million.
10.“The Lost City of Z,” $2.1 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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